The Olympic break was really good to one of Brenden Morrow’s teams, but not the other.
Morrow left Vancouver with a gold medal, but the good times stopped once the Canadian captain of the Dallas Stars returned to Texas. When the NHL went on hiatus for the Games, the Stars were on a 9-4-1 run and tied for ninth with Detroit in the West, just one point behind eighth-place Calgary.
Since play resumed they have one shootout win in seven contests and have dropped the first two games of a six-game homestand as the playoffs become more and more of a distant dream.
Dallas was one of the last four teams standing in the 2008 playoffs, but have failed to build on that showing, finishing 12th in the West last year, a spot they could well occupy when this season ends.
There’s some hope in the form of youngsters Jamie Benn and James Neal, but clearly first-year GM Joe Nieuwendyk has some work to do this summer if Dallas is to regain its standing as a perennial playoff threat.
Alex Ovechkin is becoming more of a polarizing figure with every passing questionable hit
Mikael Samuelsson is proving to be one of last summer's best signings; he's got 10 points in his past four games and could hit 35 goals
Five wins in a row for a team that just refuses to hit any kind of wall
Dropped the first contest of a six-game road trip in Anaheim
Sidney Crosby has built on his golden performance by putting up at least one point in every game since his return from Vancouver.
Early reports are Brian Campbell will miss the rest of the season after Ovie's hit
Have more road points (44) than home (41) in two more games on enemy ice
Cody McLeod and Stephane Yelle left Sunday's win with leg injuries and will be re-evaluated Monday
Sounds like Paul Martin will finally return on Saturday after missing four-plus months with a broken forearm
Todd Bertuzzi has gone 17 games without a goal
Picked up three big wins in a four-game trip away from home
Huge home game Monday night versus Detroit
Pop-gun power play is ranked just 24th in the NHL
Habs are rolling and might get top goal-scorer Mike Cammalleri back for Saturday's game in Toronto
Ian Laperriere is not a fan of his former teammate Sean Avery
No lock to make the playoffs; Sens have one win (against Edmonton) in six games since the Olympics and play eight of their final 13 contests on the road
Keith Tkachuk returned Sunday in Minnesota after missing seven games with an upper-body injury
Bruins are doing their best to hang onto a playoff spot, but more and more this just seems like a season to forget
Big games this week versus two teams they're chasing – Montreal and Boston – for a post-season berth
Injury to Cam Ward has allowed Canes to get a look at prospect Justin Peters – ranked fifth on the team in Future Watch – in goal
Young Shawn Matthias finally starting to look like a bona fide NHLer
Guillaume Latendresse has basically been good for a goal every other game since landing in Minny
Sniper Steven Stamkos may miss a game with a bruised back sustained on a check by Pens' Brooks Orpik
One win in seven post-Olympic games and that came in a shootout
Getting a defenseman who can move the puck has to be the top off-season priority
Ducks get first win since the break on Sunday, but Teemu Selanne and Ryan Getzlaf both leave the game and are day-to-day
Baby-faced No. 1 line of Phil Kessel, Tyler Bozak and Nikolai Kulemin providing some excitement
John Tavares and Brendan Witt are tied for the worst plus-minus on the team at minus-18
No wins in their past six outings
Losing to Toronto on Saturday may have sewn up last overall
The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Monday based on a combination of last week’s play and a squad’s overall outlook.
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